HOUSTON — Nakachi Maduka hit a pair of free throws with a 10th of a second remaining and Rice rallied past UTSA, 43-41, on Thursday night at Tudor Fieldhouse.
Senior Simone Young led the Roadrunners (6-5) with 12 points, while fellow senior Whitney Wright tied a career high with 13 rebounds.
Meanwhile, Maduka tallied a dozen points to lead the Owls, who improved to 6-4 with their fourth consecutive win.
UTSA held Rice to just 27.3 percent shooting and forced 18 turnovers that led to 16 points.
Trailing 22-19, UTSA went on a 14-2 run for its largest lead of the contest.
Freshman Mannasha Bell started the spurt and tied the score with a three-point play before Young hit the squad’s only 3-pointer of the night. Young then drove the lane for a layup and Bell connected twice inside for a 31-22 advantage with 13:24 to play.
After a Rice basket, senior Whitney York hit two free throws for a 33-24 margin before the Owls rattled off a 15-2 run and they did not trail the rest of the way.
Two Zoe Rogers free throws with 2:21 to go gave Rice its largest lead of the game, 39-35, and the home squad led 41-39 with a minute to play.
After forcing another Owls turnover, the Roadrunners tied the score on Young’s driving layup with 29 ticks left.
Rice had one final chance and, after a pair of missed shots, it was able to wrestle the ball away and draw a foul with just a 10th of second on the clock. Maduka promptly hit the final two of her 10 attempts at the charity stripe to clinch the victory.
UTSA scored the game’s first seven points, including five from senior Cori Cooper, and forced the home squad into turnovers on each of its first three possessions. The Roadrunners took advantage and held a 9-3 lead following Young’s jumper at the 14:51 mark.
However, UTSA scored just seven points the rest of the half and that allowed Rice to chip away at the deficit.
Despite being held scoreless from the floor for more than nine minutes, the Owls were able to connect from the free-throw line to close the gap.
Breion Allen stopped the drought with a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 5:32 to go in the stanza.
Cooper’s jumper with 3:46 remaining before halftime gave the the Roadrunners a 16-12 lead, but Rice scored the final four points of the stanza to tie things up at intermission.
UTSA will return to action on Saturday, Dec. 29, when it travels to Utah State (3-8) for its Western Athletic Conference opener. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. (CT).